Friday, October 5, 2012

Action Painting: Smiling Wolves, Dancing Ducks, And Two Red Legs

Please allow my students to demonstrate the action painting technique of the day, string painting.

First, get some saucers of tempera paint, a spoon for each one, some lengths of yarn, and a nice big piece of paper folded in half. 

Hold one end of the yarn securely in your hand, and then smeesh and smoosh the rest of it into the paint. Use the spoon to coax the paint onto every bit of the yarn.

Once the yarn is completely coated, carefully lift it out of the paint, and lay it down on one half of the folded paper. Take care to squiggle it and squoggle it just so. Arrange the end of the yarn so it hangs off the edge of the paper like a fuzzy little handle. 

Repeat the process with more yarn and different colors of paint. Three is a good number for this sort of thing, but really, you're the boss.

When everything suits you just right, fold the top half of the paper over the top of all this painty yarn, making a big sandwich.

Call for a buddy, and have them place their hands gently but firmly on top of your paper and yarn sandwich.

Then grab hold of one of your yarn handles, and gently but firmly pull it out of the paper sandwich. Throw that soggy bit of yarn into the trash, pronto.

Repeat the process with each bit of yarn that's tucked inside.

And when you are done, open it up. VoilĂ !!

Notice the way some parts of the design reveal the simple lines of the yarn, but in other places, where the pulling action spread the paint, there are interesting blends of color and complex fans of paint. 

Anything can happen when you are string painting, and you never know what you'll get till you open up that paper and take a look. 

It's a very interesting and surprising way to paint. 

After you have taken a good long look, gently but firmly carry your creation to our drying area slash floor. Be sure to grab one of our Artist Signing Pens slash Sharpies, and get your name on that masterpiece right away. 

Now, you may repeat the process with other colors of paper, different combinations of paint, and new arrangements of the yarns. 

In other words, go hog wild.

Here are some of my students' designs. With a little imagination, it is possible to find some interesting things in the paintings.

Here we saw two green wolves, nose to nose, with their mouths wide open. They look like they are smiling.

And this might look like two blue ducks, dancing together, wearing big ruffly red and purple dresses. Their little blue pointed toes seem to be peeping out from the bottom of their skirts.

How about a top-down view of two birds in flight, with yellow heads and blue-green wings, about to have a head-on collision?

And this last one? Well, this one was easy. Bearing a striking resemblance to one of my recent Instagrams, this is clearly a picture of Ranger's two front legs.

When I explained this remarkable similarity to the artist who painted these two red legs, he got excited and immediately came up with a brilliant and ambitious plan. 

"I'm going to take this home, and attach it to a REALLY big piece of paper. And then I am going to paint the rest of Ranger."

And that is why I love to make art with children. 

For more of our action painting adventures, go hereherehere and here. You won't be sorry.

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For more stories about my talented and adorable art students, read:


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